NASA and ISRO Collaborate to Develop NISAR Satellite for Earth Observation

NASA and ISRO Collaborate to Develop NISAR Satellite for Earth Observation
NASA and ISRO Collaborate to Develop NISAR Satellite for Earth Observation

In a pioneering collaboration, NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have joined forces to create the NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite. Scheduled for launch in early 2024, this groundbreaking mission aims to track precise movements of Earth’s land and ice surfaces. NISAR will revolutionize our understanding of various ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and agricultural lands, by monitoring nearly every part of the planet at least once every 12 days.

NISAR represents an equal partnership between NASA and ISRO, signifying their first joint effort in hardware development for an Earth-observing mission. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), managed by Caltech in Pasadena on behalf of NASA, leads the U.S. component of the project, providing the mission’s L-band SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar). NASA’s contributions include the radar reflector antenna, deployable boom, high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers, solid-state recorder, and payload data subsystem. The ISRO component, led by URSC, contributes the spacecraft bus, S-band SAR electronics, launch vehicle, and associated launch services and satellite mission operations.

This flagship partnership leverages the expertise of both agencies. NASA is responsible for the L-Band SAR payload system, complemented by ISRO’s S-Band SAR payload. These SAR systems utilize a large, unfurlable reflector antenna with a diameter of approximately 12 meters. Furthermore, NASA provides engineering payloads such as the Payload Data Subsystem, High-rate Science Downlink System, GPS receivers, and Solid-State Recorder.

The NISAR Earth science mission will yield an abundance of data and information on changes in Earth’s surface, natural hazards, and ecosystem disturbances. This invaluable resource significantly contributes to our understanding of Earth system processes and the phenomenon of climate change.

One of NISAR’s critical objectives is to provide vital information for effective management of natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. This data will enable faster response times and enhance risk assessment associated with these events.

The NISAR mission will revolutionize agriculture management and food security by offering precise information on crop growth, soil moisture levels, and land-use changes.

Infrastructure monitoring and management will also benefit from NISAR data, facilitating the monitoring of oil spills, urbanization patterns, and deforestation.

NISAR’s capabilities extend to monitoring and understanding the impacts of climate change on Earth’s land surface, including the melting of glaciers, sea-level rise, and changes in carbon storage.

Key Information:

  • ISRO Chairman: S. Somanath
  • ISRO Foundation Date: 15th August 1969
  • ISRO Founder: Dr. Vikram Sarabhai
  • NASA Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
  • NASA Founded: 29 July 1958, United States
  • NASA Administrator: Bill Nelson